Union University
Union University Dept of Language

Evangelogia



Obscene Tacos

by JUSTIN D. BARNARD
Director of the Institute for Intellectual Discipleship

March 5, 2009 - A good friend recently passed along an interesting NPR story about Kogi – as he describes it, “a fadish LA culinary trend, a fusion cuisine Korea Taco truck whose popularity sprends through an active blog, twitter broadcasts, etc.” The report interviews Kogi’s marketer, who blogs about the LA taco truck from her home in Brooklyn. Apparently, in addition to the local popularity of its edibles, the Kogi truck is something a phenom in cyberspace, having attracted a substantial virtual following. According to Kogi’s chief blog-o-relations officer, those who follow the truck’s activities in cyberspace enjoy pictures of Kogi’s tacos as a form of “food porn.” (Yes, food porn!) Living, as these followers do, many hundreds if not thousands of miles from the truck itself, the likelihood that they will ever taste one of Kogi’s tacos is vanishingly small. Thank goodness for Twitter! (?)

My wise friend comments: “It is a sad person whose online friend is a taco truck (of all the things in the world to befriend online) and who would prefer looking at food he will never eat to, well, food he can. The phrase 'food porn', although intended positively by the marketer, seems to capture for me the perversity exactly.” Need one say more?

In his classic work Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis captures the perversity of such disordered desires thus: “Now suppose you come to a country where you could fill a theatre by simply bringing a covered plate on to the stage and then slowly lifting the cover so as to let everyone see, just before the lights went out, that it contained a mutton chop or a bit of bacon, would not think that in that country something had gone wrong with the appetite for food?” Sadly, Lewis relies on the fact that his readership will have an intuition about the perversity of this scenario that is not only increasingly difficult to find, but now (as the Kogi blogger makes clear) apparently directly repudiated. Not only is there nothing twisted about lusting after food that one will never eat, it is thought to be a good!

Of course, Evangelicals should be cautious about heaping too much scorn on Kogi’s purveyor of culinary pornography and those who lust after it in cyberspace. After all, Jesus admonished us to remove the log from our own eye before addressing the speck in our brother’s. Perhaps the season of Lent would be an appropriate occasion to give up watching the Food Network.